Week 5 was a good week. I was able to complete all of my scheduled runs for a total of 40 miles. This is very high mileage for me. And it’s going to keep going up.
After dealing with back spasms and missing a run at the end of Week 4, I started Week 5 with a scheduled 4 mile run and I ran very conservatively and knew that if things didn’t feel good I would just go home. It went ok and helped to loosen my back.
Tuesday was another 4 mile run. Nothing exciting. I just got it done. Thursday jumped to 6 miles and I decided that even though some sidewalks still have snow I had to leave my neighborhood. I ran through the hospital and to a neighborhood on the other side and was able to string together enough streets and trails without running the streets in my own neighborhood. Thursday went well – I was able to keep up a faster pace. The weather on Thursday was a preview of the weekend weather. It was cold and windy. I think that kept me motivated to hurry up and get it done.
Yesterday I was scheduled for a longest ever run – 16 miles. (A few more of those longest ever runs are coming up….this is exciting and gives me something to look forward to. At the end of each run I can celebrate a new distance.)
The outdoor temperature was frigid….beyond frigid. It was 19°F but felt like something in the single digits. The wind was brutal. I had plans to meet Kim again because that has been working out really well. I love running with her. I started early to get in my extra miles before we met. From the trail access point I decided to go west into the wind. My plan was to run 2 miles west and then turn back east and head 2 miles past the starting point so that when I got back to the starting point I was at 8 miles. When I realized how bad the wind was I became nervous about my timing and decided to only go 1.5 miles past the starting point when I was heading east. So I was back at the starting point after 7 miles. By then I had seen some running friends who were there for the Saturday Distance Training Program. I also saw one of the coaches sitting at the starting location. I checked the time and decided I had just enough time to do the 8th mile and then meet Kim so I headed west for half a mile and then back to the starting point. The timing worked out well.
For my early miles I ran most of it on the horse trail which is a mixture of gravel and dirt. In some places it also adds extra rolling hills. Kim and I stuck to the paved trail and ended up running just over 4 miles together. As we were finishing one our friends was about to pass us. I asked how many miles she had left. She was planning on doing two more but was easily convinced to do 3 more. That left me with just under a mile to finish on my own. I am so grateful for wondering running friends. I could not do this training without them.
Today I was able to hit the trails for a 10 mile run. I had been planning to go to the race course but I saw a picture from last week showing that it was washed out. I was concerned there would be too much ice for a comfortable run so I decided to run trails from a closer location. Also the temperature today was even lower – a huge 7°F when I started. I think the windchill was actually negative but the wind speeds were lower so I actually felt more comfortable. I tried not to stray too far from my car just in case I got too cold. I ended up on trail that seemed interesting and I wanted to keep exploring so I went about 3.5 miles from the car before turning back. I knew I needed to add a 3 mile loop to get the full distance so I took a chance on the trail that led to the lake and it worked out almost perfectly. The end of the run was hard. I was tired. My legs were heavy. I hiked a lot. This is probably a good simulation of the race though. I know that’s the point of the back to back runs. I need to learn how to keep moving on tired legs. I kept telling myself to be relentless and to keep pressing forward. One step at time. The sections I hiked were getting longer but I convinced myself to run short sections whenever I could. Overall I was pleased with the run and super happy to be on trails in the woods.